Week 3 of the 2022 fantasy football season had a little bit of everything, led by huge performances by Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson. So which developments are worth reading into? Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft offer their analysis.
Hurts so good ... again
After dropping 27.5 fantasy points on the Washington defense in Week 3, Jalen Hurts has now posted at least 24 points in each of his three starts this season. We know about the dual-threat ability here. Hurts, who has already logged 35 carries this season, can break down defenses on designed rushes or second-reaction scramble plays. The Eagles quarterback is reading it out as a thrower -- both pre- and post-snap -- and isolating his targets. He has been aggressive on vertical concepts, too. And his pocket movement puts him in a position to reset his throwing window or attack the edges. Hurts has now thrown for over 330 yards in back-to-back games. And the Birds get the Jags' defense up next in Week 4. -- Bowen
Dalvin Cook leaves with a shoulder injury
Arguably fantasy football's most critical insurance-policy situation, Cook and Alexander Mattison will come into focus heading into Week 4, after the former departed Sunday's game early with a shoulder injury. Cook delivered a plenty productive 13.6 PPR fantasy points on 17 touches and 42 offensive snaps before departing, while Mattison's day concluded with 25 snaps, eight touches and 11.4 points of his own. While the Vikings' coaching staff has changed this season, the team's zone running game hasn't really shifted much from last year's model, making Mattison a plug-and-play sub whenever needed. To that end, he averaged 23.3 PPR fantasy points in his past five starts of 40-plus offensive snaps played when Cook has been sidelined, during which time Cook has averaged 17.3 points in his 12 games of 40-plus snaps played (including this week's). Heads up, fantasy managers: Mattison remains available in nearly two-thirds of ESPN leagues, something that needs be rectified immediately if Cook's status is in any question. -- Cockcroft
Why fantasy managers should grab Mattison if he's available
Tristan H. Cockcroft says Dalvin Cook's early injury departure serves a reminder that Alexander Mattison, widely available in ESPN leagues, is a must-have insurance policy.
Lamar Jackson makes history
With his best-from-the-1 p.m. ET-slate 39.42 fantasy points, Jackson became the first quarterback since at least 1950 (and presumably in NFL history) to score at least that many in back-to-back weeks, having embarrassed a Dolphins defense that had a decent-on-paper secondary, and now Bill Belichick's Patriots. Additionally, Jackson now has 102.26 fantasy points through three games, the most by any quarterback through that stage of the season in history. Not much else to say other than that, with his historic rushing prowess, he's a locked-in, weekly top-3. -- Cockcroft
DeVonta Smith breaks out
Smith finished with 30.9 PPR points on Sunday. Deep balls. Contested catches in the red zone. And more target volume. Smith cooked this Washington secondary, bringing in 8 of 12 targets for 169 yards and a score. And after failing to record a reception back in Week 1, Smith has now caught 15 of 19 passes from Hurts over the past two games. He's a prime complement to the traits of A.J. Brown in the Philly route tree, and his ability to beat one-on-one coverage, and find open zone voids, is really showing up right now. Smith and the Eagles get the Jacksonville defense in Week 4. You can lock him in as a high-level WR3 for that one. -- Bowen
Lions running back committee?
Few fantasy managers could've expected the backfield breakdown we saw in Detroit, as Jamaal Williams had 33 offensive snaps to D'Andre Swift's 32, and delivered a dominating 24.7 PPR fantasy points on 22 touches to Swift's 7.6 points on 10 touches. Furthermore, Williams did most of the short-yardage dirty work, including stealing another goal-line carry that he converted, a trend of concern considering he now has all seven of the goal-to-go rushing attempts combined between the two of them. In Swift's defense, he has been dealing with an ankle injury in the early weeks, and I wonder whether the Lions are limiting his workload accordingly. Additionally, I like what I see from the Lions' defense through three weeks, and there might well be enough to this year's model to keep both backs productive. Swift's injury history, however, is a concern. This might also wind up one of those maddening situations where we're all screaming at our TVs as we watch Williams steal those seemingly "freebie" fantasy points. -- Cockcroft
Why fantasy managers should give Jamaal Williams flex attention in future weeks
Eric Karabell breaks down how Lions running back Jamaal Williams continues to get touches and touchdowns, and that may remain the case even when D'Andre Swift gets healthier.
Trevor Lawrence rises up the fantasy ranks
Don't look now -- or actually, please do look, and right now, because Lawrence is developing into a relevant fantasy quarterback before our eyes. He scored a career-best 25.18 fantasy points Sunday, and against the Chargers and their pass rush at that, and for the second consecutive week did not turn over the football. Lawrence looks much more comfy in Doug Pederson's offense, and it seems that week-over-week experience is doing him well. He'll get the Eagles next, which isn't the easiest of matchups, but I've got him as a locked-in, weekly 2QB/superflex play who might be a small step away from top-10/standard-starter status when the matchup is right. -- Cockcroft
Tristan, we can see the improved throwing mechanics with Lawrence. And the upgrade in offensive scheme. That's coaching -- under Pederson. Yes, it's still a small sample size of three regular-season games, but Lawrence has elevated his game as a pocket thrower. -- Bowen
DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers: Through three weeks, I'm plenty concerned about Moore's production, as he has been held to six targets exactly in each game, totaling 23.8 PPR fantasy points in the process. One might've expected more looks and greater production with Baker Mayfield's arrival, but to date, Mayfield has attempted only 81 passes and Moore's status as the top target-getter has been in competition each week. I still see him as one of the smarter buy-lows considering his history of consistency -- and I mean consistently productive, as he was a top-25 positional scorer in exactly seven games in each of the past two seasons -- and perhaps his Week 4 matchup against a bad Cardinals secondary will wake him up statistically. But to be clear, he needs a big game or there'll be panic buttons pressed everywhere. -- Cockcroft
Dameon Pierce, RB, Houston Texans: For the second straight week, Pierce was the Texans' lead back, rushing 20 times for 80 yards and a score on Sunday in Chicago. The rookie also chipped in two receptions for 21 yards, finishing with 18.1 PPR points. While Pierce did put the ball on the ground twice against the Bears' defense, we are seeing his pro fit here. He's a downhill runner who can get on a vertical path, and there's more shake to his game than you think. With a Week 4 matchup against the Chargers, Pierce will again find his way into my rankings as a Flex option, and the Texans will look to control offensive tempo again with the run game. -- Bowen
Khalil Herbert, RB, Chicago Bears: Herbert just racked up 30.9 PPR points (the highest running back total of the early window of games) and he's rostered in only 25.4% of ESPN leagues. A must-add on the upcoming waiver wire, Herbert could be in line for even more work in Week 4 against the Giants. With starting running back David Montgomery leaving Sunday's game against the Texans with an injury (ankle), Herbert totaled 157 yards rushing -- on 20 carries -- which included two red zone touchdown runs. An easy fit for the Bears' ground game, Herbert is a decisive runner who plays with vision. And in this Chicago offense, which really lacks a true pass game element through three weeks, you can count on rushing volume. -- Bowen
Why Khalil Herbert should be on your fantasy radar
Eric Moody breaks down what Khalil Herbert's impressive Week 3 performance means going forward.
Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals: After delivering a very Aaron Rodgers-like reassurance regarding his and his team's slow start to 2022, Burrow dominated the Jets' defense in a way we mostly expected. His 22.9 fantasy points were hardly eye-popping or week-winning, but he controlled the football nicely, with zero turnovers, was sacked only twice, and regularly connected with his receivers who were frequently left open in coverage. All in all, this looks much more like the Burrow we've all come to expect, and he now gets back-to-back matchups against defenses that have struggled mightily to contain the pass in the Dolphins (Week 4) and Ravens (Week 5). He'll be a sure-fire top-10 quarterback for me in each. -- Cockcroft
Justin Fields, QB, Bears: On Sunday, Fields completed only 8 of 17 passes for 106 yards -- with two really poor interceptions. Decision-making and ball location were the issues there. And, through three games, Fields has attempted just 43 throws. He's not seeing it cleanly from the pocket, and the Bears' coaching staff is limiting his opportunities to throw the ball. In an extremely run-heavy offense, with very little explosive-play juice in the pass game, Fields can't be trusted to start in any scoring formats with a Week 4 matchup versus the Giants. -- Bowen
Chris Olave, WR, New Orleans Saints: I admit that I had my doubts about how heavily he'd be used as well as how productive a Jameis Winston-led offense might be, but the past two weeks have me convinced that Olave can make a weekly WR3 impact. He has enjoyed 32% and 33% target shares in those games, and scored 11.0 and 23.7 PPR fantasy points in the process. Injuries to Michael Thomas (foot) and Jarvis Landry (ankle) bear watching throughout the practice week, but even with both on board, Olave has emerged as a clear cog in this passing game. -- Cockcroft
Cockcroft: Olave is a fantasy WR 3 right now
Tristan H. Cockcroft explains how Chris Olave's connection with Jameis Winston bodes well for his next two weeks in fantasy.
James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Yeah, I'm still a believer in the upside of Travis Etienne Jr. when looking at a Jags offense that is well-schemed and explosive. But how can we not talk about Robinson here? For the third straight game, Robinson scored a touchdown. And with 20.6 PPR points Sunday, he has now logged at least 15 PPR points in each game this season. In the past two weeks -- both Jacksonville wins -- Robinson has totaled 40 carries. He's a volume grinder, a pro runner with downhill ability and scoring potential. With a Week 4 game versus the Eagles, I'll have Robinson ranked as a high-floor RB2/flex. -- Bowen
Cordarrelle Patterson, RB, Atlanta Falcons: For the second time in three weeks, Patterson exceeded 100 rushing yards and 20 PPR fantasy points, totaling 141 and 22.3 against the Seahawks. Yes, the matchup leaned heavily in his favor, but it's a good sign that he continues to gobble up time out of the backfield, playing 76.5% of the offensive snaps even in a game in which Tyler Allgeier (37.3%) was active. Patterson's speed was apparent again in this one, enough to make him a weekly flex at minimum, and against weaker defenses he has top-15 positional upside. -- Cockcroft
Marquise Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals: This is why you drafted Brown. He has breakout potential, with the vertical stretch ability to get loose. And he's seeing the target volume right now from quarterback Kyler Murray. The Cardinals wide receiver posted a season-high 28.0 PPR points versus the Rams defense Sunday, catching 14 of 17 targets. That puts him at 28 targets over the past two games. He projects as a solid WR2 -- with big play juice -- for the Cards matchup versus the Panthers' defense in Week 4. -- Bowen
Romeo Doubs, WR, Green Bay Packers: 21.3 PPR points. A touchdown. And 8-of-8 targets in the pass game. Remember, Sammy Watkins is on IR. And Christian Watson is down again with an injury. Playing with Aaron Rodgers, the best pure thrower in the league, Doubs should be rostered this week. There's upside here for a very efficient Green Bay pass game. -- Bowen
You know I'm a fan, since he was on my preseason "deep sleepers" list, and while one game doesn't make a fantasy star, I think we're also in a place where one big game might catch Rodgers' eye week over week. Doubs might not be Watson, but he's a similar type of upside play who could find a path into the top 25 wide receivers with some luck. -- Cockcroft
Rashod Bateman, WR, Baltimore Ravens: I really like the receiving traits of Bateman. And he can be schemed up on this Ravens offense to attack the third level of the field. But until we see more volume here, I can't elevate Bateman in my rankings. On Sunday, Bateman caught just 2 of 4 targets for 59 yards in the win over the Patriots. That gives him a total of eight receptions on the season. He'll remain a midtier WR3 -- with big-play upside -- for the Week 4 game versus the Bills' defense. -- Bowen
Darnell Mooney, WR, Bears: Through three weeks, he has 11 targets and 6.7 PPR fantasy points. That's not a typo! It's a damned shame that this preseason seventh-rounder has been rendered helpless in fantasy leagues, but for so long as this remains the Bears' game plan, Mooney must be left to our sidelines. -- Cockcroft